Eight years later…
I held a cup through the bars of my cell and watched with slight glee as the filthy water from a corpse tree fell into it, drip by drip. Three hours to fill. Oh well. It’s not like I had any plans aside from being cooked alive. Though I was used to Hell’s annoying heat—it felt like a nuclear oven in this goddamn place—thirst didn’t go away. The corpse tree perched outside of my cell was my only water source. It tasted like rotten shit. Maybe fleshy dumpster water with a side of dead rat, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
Today’s a special day. Conus visited every two years and asked if I had improved my attitude and some other “wise man” nonsense. Normally, I’d give him the middle finger before walking to the other end of my cell, barefoot in my filthy jeans and t-shirt, all while enjoying the howls of agonizing demons in the distance. He’d watch me for a few minutes, then disappear back to Paradise Realm, unaware of my plans.
The asshat was due to show up today for his routine. It’s an understatement to say I had something prepared for him this time. He had sealed my power back then, but age somehow had worked its wonders. I felt it slowly unlocking, barely, faintly—definitely not enough to even scratch Conus, but with it, I drew an invisible deity-trapper onto the dirty floors of my cell.
I had masked the magic circle’s power and charged it for years. Now it’s so strong that I’d probably die too, if I used it. Yes, a spell that can actually kill an immortal. Developed it myself.
How do I know it kills immortals? Well, I tested it on the immortal demons that flocked to my cell to fuck with me. Douchebags.
Almost once a month, (I drew a calendar to track time) a group of them in all shapes and sizes would show up, uninvited, mind you, and walk through my cell bars like ghosts. Ignoring physics aside, they’d beat the ever-living shit of me, break my bones, crush my balls, pop my eyeballs, chop me into pieces, restore me and do it again for days.
When they grew tired, one of them often pitied me enough to restore my shredded body while gloating, with “next time” threats. I tell you this was the most agonizing shit ever, but my plan set into motion. Once I activated my trapper, payback felt sweet.
It was now just me, the corpse tree, and patience. So much patience.
I felt a nine hundred-degree wind blow this way, scorching my face as it passed. It still hurt like hell but barely fazed me. My skin took no physical damage —I only felt amplified pain. That’s how this shithole seem to work.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure. After spending eight years here, I almost grew compassionate for the humans sent to this shithole for a goddamn eternity. At least for those who died a noble cause such as trying to feed their family. Conus and the House of Judgment are damned harsh, though, for the most part, mainly murderers, rapists, and the corrupt got sent to Hell. And well, since I destroyed Earth like twice, it came as no surprise to why I’m here. Conus can rewind time, yet he still condemned me.
Asshole. Why not seal these goddamn uncontrollable powers? He’s like, “son, you must learn to control your powers, you’re next in line for the throne.”
Screw that! I didn’t ask for them, nor did I give a shit about the throne. It sounded cool at first, until he explained the responsibility. And believe me, you don’t want me to get into that. Afterwards, he sent me to live among the humans, to learn about them and what not. Sure, there were probably noble intentions behind the terrible idea, but it obviously didn’t work. I get it: live with them, learn their culture then you’ll learn to rule the evil creatures, blah blah blah. It’s tradition.
Something unseen triggered mankind to treat me like the worms lower than dirt. It’s human nature to be complete dickbags. Nothing new there, move along.
I shook my head at my murderous thoughts of Conus.
While not the only judge in the House, he’s the one who’d punish his son by condemning him to live in Hell. I’m surprised that Demon King Ghost, Lucifer, or any of the big-dog devils of royalty didn’t pay a visit these years. Well, Hell is an ever-expanding place and this tiny corner isn’t exactly popular, except for thugs. Lucky me.
I checked my deity-trapper, charged more power into it, and sat on a stool made of some kind of bone. Probably demon bone, since it didn’t heat up at all. Or was it the remains of some demon I tortured? Fuck if I remembered. The fiery red sky began to fill with clouds, a sign that Conus was preparing his dimensional warp. Hell’s sky normally consisted of a constant, bland, blood-red void. It’s similar to Earth’s blue sky, just uglier, and often polluted with fiery balls of brimstone and flying demons.
I prepared to make this Conus’ resting place whether I could bust out or not. I already heard his echoes whispering my name like ghosts of the past.
“Epex…Epex…Epex…” The echoes briefly surrounded me before roaming off into the nine hundred-degree wind. My hatred for Conus intensified. I didn’t like to think of myself as crazy even if I was bat shit insane after being here for eight years. No, I’m composed, clever, cunning, charming, careful—five C’s of brilliance. Educating myself wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, and nearly impossible before my power leaked from its seal. I had to dig into my memories and manifest books that were from places I once visited. This was the best I could do, and the illusions didn’t last very long before vanishing out of existence.
The dark thunderclouds finally covered the entire sky. The shape of Conus’ face appeared then formed into a funnel that smacked down in front of my cell. Seconds later, after intense light briefly covered the area, he stood a foot before me in the flesh, ice in his stare.
I returned the glare.
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Alvin Atwater is a man of humor, a starving author. With a unique writing style that can outshine even Jim Butcher, Patria Briggs, or Kevin Hearne, he is a character-driven lovable lump of mass. Born in Florida, he's on a mission to defeat his arch nemesis, Florida Man, once and for all.
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Author of the Blood for Soul series and a secret coming-of-the-age epic fantasy. Lover of anime and manga: so yeah, weeb shit? Fun. Sue me haha.
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